Featured Artist David Watkins Jr.

Photographer David Watkins Jr. creates dramatic and painterly floral portraits. Visit his website to see more of his photography.

 

"Gooseneck Loosetrife" Digital Photograph, Various sizes by photographer David Watkins Jr. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Gooseneck Loosetrife” Digital Photograph, Various sizes

 

I have two great passions: gardening and photography. Now retired, I have the time to pursue both in more depth. They are connected so intimately that they are almost impossible to separate.

 

"Silk Road" Digital Photograph, Various sizes by photographer David Watkins Jr. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Silk Road” Digital Photograph, Various sizes

 

Spending time in a garden with my camera is more relaxing than I can explain. There is a peace associated with being in a garden, or wild place, that makes time disappear.

 

"Notes from the Field" Digital Photograph, Various sizes by photographer David Watkins Jr. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Notes from the Field” Digital Photograph, Various sizes

 

Satisfaction comes from finding nature’s own compositions and happy accidents. The feeling returns sitting in front of the computer and assessing images for what they are, and/or can become.

 

Weeds and Ferns, Digital Photograph, Various sizes by photographer David Watkins Jr. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

Weeds and Ferns, Digital Photograph, Various sizes

 

For me, the camera is just a tool used to record color, patterns, textures, light, and weather. I’ve never been an expert on f-stops, shutter speeds and lenses. I know enough about my tools to achieve what I’m after. In the final analysis, it’s how an image can evolve that drives me—with what’s in my head, not in my camera.

 

"Anemone Floating, No.2" Digital Photograph, Various sizes by photographer David Watkins Jr. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Anemone Floating, No.2” Digital Photograph, Various sizes

 

Recently, I’ve been focused on creating images based on an early inspiration—the great floral paintings by Dutch and Flemish painters of the seventeenth century. Their use of rich color on dark backgrounds has pushed me to create, not a replication of their images, but my own versions that become more abstract as I work.

 

"Purple Dahlia Antiqued" Digital Photograph, Various sizes by photographer David Watkins Jr. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Purple Dahlia Antiqued” Digital Photograph, Various sizes

 

I am constantly surprised when revisiting old images and seeing something new, some new way of transforming it, or creating a work that I didn’t see then. I suspect that working digitally allows that to happen a bit more easily than when I was using film.

 

"Sunflowers Remembered" Digital Photograph, Various sizes by photographer David Watkins Jr. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Sunflowers Remembered” Digital Photograph, Various sizes

 

Currently, I use a variety of software to process an image much the way a painter uses a variety of mediums and tools to create. The image is duplicated, blurred, processed with a blending mode in Photoshop, and flattened. Then, I either dodge and burn, or paint in or out parts of the image in order to achieve a final vision.

 

"Coneflower" Digital Photograph, Various sizes by photographer David Watkins Jr. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Coneflower” Digital Photograph, Various sizes

 

Lately, I’ve been merging the processed image with background textures or filters to modify it yet again. The goal is to create images that achieve the “Old Dutch Masters” look but with a contemporary feel.

 

"Festiva Maxima" Digital Photograph, Various sizes by photographer David Watkins Jr. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Festiva Maxima” Digital Photograph, Various sizes

 

I am influenced by Eliot Porter. His landscapes and intimate portraits of the natural world move me to try and experience the natural world as he did.

 

"Two Orange Petals" Digital Photograph, Various sizes by photographer David Watkins Jr. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Two Orange Petals” Digital Photograph, Various sizes

 

I am also influenced by the Dutch photographer, Bas Meeuws, whose painstaking digital recreations of traditional Dutch still life and floral paintings are unique and inspirational.

 

Photographer David Watkins Jr. invites you to follow him on Facebook.

 

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Comments

  1. That’s something incredible for sure. I usually don’t admire flowers in photography or in art generally too much, but these floral portraits are hypnotizing and very relaxing for sure. I especially like “Notes from the Field” for it’s delicate wildness and “Purple Dahlia Antiqued” for such a bright and elegant romanticism. “Coneflower” is the special one. Her alluring maturity standing out of “the crowd” is so charming!

    • Jone,

      Thanks for the very kind note. It’s always gratifying to hear from other artists about one’s work. I appreciate your taking the time to comment. I should probably hire you to write about my images….always hard for me to do.

      Best,

      David

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